The Dash 8 series was built by General Electric in the late 1980s. This series of engines would become a major seller for GE's locomotive division. These engines were configured as Bs - with two-axle power trucks, or Cs - with three-axle power trucks. The Bs and Cs were both delivered initially with conventional cabs, but would later feature the now-standard wide-cab.
Atlas has released a great looking and (as usual) running locomotive. This release represents the Dash 8-40B, a conventional cab, four axle engine. This particular example represents road number 7428 of the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad (ATSF).
Detailing on this engine is outstanding. Straight out of the box, the engine is equipped with Kadee-compatible couplers (hook/horn couplers are also provided in the box), a snow plow, sanding tubes, uncoupling levers, MU hoses, rotating beacon, and even a crew in the cab.
Another great feature in this engine is the Atlas Dual-Mode DCC Decoder. The engine comes out of the box ready for standard (non-DCC) operations. To switch to DCC operations, you must remove the shell and move a jumper on the DCC decoder. The decoder comes pre-programmed as engine 03. You must re-program the decoder to whatever engine number you'd like to use (I'm thinking #7428).
The only downside I've found so far with this engine is in the documentation. An exploded view is provided with part numbers, as is a sheet explaining the decoder operations. What isn't provided is a clue how to remove the shell to access the decoder without the risk of breaking something! This is unfortunate as Atlas has done this on some previous releases.
Electronically, the engine is equipped with forward and reverse lighting. The forward lighting and number boards are illuminated and protected by a light shield that prevents the cab from becoming a light beacon in the night (as other manufacturers' engines unfortunately do).
Mechanically, the engine is geared for power, not speed. At max power, the engine runs at scale speeds. The can motor is fitted with dual flywheels for smooth operation.
The finish is flawless. The paint is not thin or oversprayed anywhere on my example, and the markings are crisp, right down to the numbers on the number boards.
This is yet another great release from Atlas. I would have been very surprised to see anything but flawless performance straight out of the box. I recommend this engine to anyone modeling modern railways. After running this engine, you'll toss your existing Dash 8s from other manufacturers.